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New York Medical College Brings Military Training to Westchester

Two dozen of Westchester County’s bravest special response team (SRT) officers recently learned state-of-the-art operational medicine techniques at New York Medical College’s Center for Disaster Medicine during a special training program on tactical and austere medicine. These techniques, often referred to as military medicine, were developed on the front lines of Iraq and Afghanistan, perfected by the U.S. Department of Defense, and customized for civilian law enforcement here at NYMC’s Center for Disaster Medicine.

“We took lessons and evidence-based medicine from the battlefield and translated those into civilian applications, including scenarios involving an active shooter and other mass casualty events in the civilian world. This training teaches the first responders keeping us safe in our communities the specialized skills and best practices of delivering good medicine in bad places,” said Dr. Michael J. Reilly, director of the Center for Disaster Medicine and director of the Center of Excellence in Precision Responses to Bioterrorism and Disasters.

Customized for civilian law enforcement officials, the extensive training extended for more than 15 hours. The Patient Assessment in Sensory Impaired Environments lab, for instance, required officers to step into a sensory overload simulation, wherein officers were required to perform tasks while exposed to disruptive stimuli including lights, smoke, offensively loud music at levels scientifically proven to cause deterioration of abilities. Additional skills labs included Officer Rescue, Extrication Devices, Equipment Platforms, Mask Confidence, and Hemorrhage Control, Chest Injuries, and Airway Management.

“When things go bad, these are the skills you need to be able to perform without even thinking.  To do this, you need to have hours of training under your belt so you are working off of muscle memory,” said Ahmad Ibrahim, a former U.S. Army soldier and EMT, who assisted Center staff instructing the lab on Bleeding and Chest Injuries.

The Center for Disaster Medicine has enjoyed sustained support from Westchester County and New York state executives, as well as business and healthcare leaders since its inception. This training was made possible by funding awarded to the Center through the Empire State Development, NYSTAR Centers of Excellence Program. The Center for Disaster Medicine was designated a Center of Excellence in Precision Responses to Bioterrorism and Disasters in 2017 by the State of New York and receives annual support to conduct workforce-related training and direct services throughout the State.

“Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our residents here in Westchester County, and clearly we are at the forefront thanks to the dedication of our brave responders as well as state-of-the-art training such as this,” said Marsha Gordon, President and CEO of the Business Council of Westchester. “I’d like to extend my deepest and most sincere gratitude to anyone who puts their life on the line to protect others.”

View the Center for Disaster Medicine Training video.

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